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Gender and Development




Admission Requirements

Similarly-tagged 200-level courses.


How can we understand gender in our contemporary globalized world? How and why do gender-related issues matter to development policy and practice? What is the role of “culture” in understanding and addressing gender issues? In this course, you will learn to develop answers to these complex questions through readings, discussion, and research on a topic of your choice. Readings are drawn from a variety of disciplinary traditions, including anthropology, sociology, women’s studies, law, development studies, and ethnic studies.

Course Objectives

Successful completion of this course means that

  • you have developed a critical understanding of “gender” and “development”

  • you are able to approach historic, contemporary, and emerging issues from a gender perspective

  • you are able to analyze how gender intersects with other categories of difference

  • you are able to clearly articulate your arguments on gender and development issues, both in written form as well as in oral presentation

Mode of Instruction

Active student participation is at the core of this course. The class meets two times a week, with Monday sessions devoted to an introduction of the week’s theme and Thursday sessions reserved for student-led discussion of the assigned reading. Reading responses are required for all class readings and additional discussion questions are due on Wednesdays, so that they can be used by the team of students preparing Thursday’s discussion.

You will also select and research a topic of particular interest to you in the general field of Gender and Development. In consultation with the instructor, you will formulate a specific question on your topic of choice, which you will address in a final report.


You will be evaluated for your critical engagement with the course readings, contributions to our class discussions, as well as your understanding of course content and your demonstrated ability to apply key concepts and approaches to new cases. Specific assess¬ment methods and deadlines are as follows:

Assessment: Twice-weekly web postings
Percentage: 35%
Deadline: Mondays, 12 noon & Wednesdays, 12noon (Weeks 1-7)
There are a total of 11 reading responses for which you’ll receive a grade, late responses will automatically receive a grade of “0” (unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor and/or in cases of serious, documented emergencies).

Assessment: In-class presentation/ leading discussion session & discussion participation
Percentage: 35%
Deadline: Thu, weeks 2-7
You will present/lead discussion (at least) once, in a group of 2-4 students. I will communicate my expectations for the presentation and leading the class discussion to you and your team mate(s) a week ahead of your presentation.

Assessment: Final research report (1800 words)
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Wed, Oct 16, at 5pm

In order to allow you to do your best work possible, this assignment has intermediate deadlines for selecting a topic, assessing sources, and outlining, as follows:

  • Bring two recent news sources about a topic related to Gender and Development to class on Monday, September 9.

  • Topic selection by Monday, September 23; be prepared to briefly introduce your topic and its relevance in class.

  • Provisional outline for the research report and list of sources are needed for in-class writing seminar on Monday, October 7.


Textbook: Janet Momsen, Gender and Development, 2nd edition, 2010 (Routledge).
Please make sure that you have acquired a copy of the required textbook by the first day of class. You will need it right away (and we’ll continue using it throughout the course).
Additional readings will be made available electronically via the course website on Blackboard or through the Leiden University Library. Please see syllabus for detailed overview of required readings for each session.

Contact Information

For further information about this course, please feel free to contact the instructor at:

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Gender and Development—An Introduction to Two Key Concepts
Week 2: Where Are the Women—A Brief History of Gender and Development
Week 3: Engendering Development—Institutional Perspectives
Week 4: Maternal Health and Reproductive Rights
Week 5: Global Connections—Women Traders, Female Migration, and Care Work
Week 6: Gender Mainstreaming
Week 7: Where Are the Men—New Perspectives on Gender and Development
Week 8: independent research and writing final report

Preparation for first session

Please bring your copy of Gender and Development to the first class session.